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North Carolina 93, Syracuse 85: The Coby White Show drowns Orange

Syracuse drops to 18-10 overall and 9-6 in the ACC.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Chapel Hill, N.C. — The Syracuse Orange hit the road to take on the North Carolina Tar Heels for a late tip on Tuesday night and gave Roy Williams and Co. just about all it could before falling 93-85. A big 29 points night from junior guard Tyus Battle ultimately wasn’t enough as Coby White led UNC to its fourth straight win.

Despite the loss, Syracuse came roaring out of the gate on the offensive end as Frank Howard opened the game with a three for the second straight game. A quick steal and transition layup by Battle had the Orange up 5-0 and Elijah Hughes joined the action shortly thereafter with two threes.

That lead was quickly trimmed though as a pair of Luke Maye free throws and back-to-back threes from Coby White and Cam Johnson respectively boosted UNC to an 8-0 run to get back within a point at 15-14. Syracuse was forced to call timeout.

Both teams traded buckets throughout much of the first half until Hughes continued his efforts from outside. He knocked down five 3s in the first half alone and on the fifth he gave the Orange an eight point lead.

Still, North Carolina was able to respond with a 5-0 run to end the half as White made two free throws and a three point play. The Orange held a 46-43 lead at the intermission in large thanks to 52.9 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

After the break, North Carolina built upon its run, outscoring Syracuse 15-3 in the first few minutes. Syracuse clawed back though with Tyus Battle who went into full takeover mode. Holding down the point guard spot, Battle looked like a man possessed as he broke out to score 17 points for the Orange in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

As good as Battle was through that stretch, it wasn’t enough to take away from the Coby White show as the frosh answered with a triple and hustled for a steal on the ensuing possession (saved in bounds from the referee) and White sprinted the other way for a jam which gave UNC an 81-73 lead. That series was indicative of how the second half went for the Orange, who seemingly couldn’t catch much of a break.

Syracuse showed some resolve at the end, but 10 missed free throws proved costly and Syracuse never got back within two possessions, losing for the tenth time this season.

Final Stats

Battle led the way with his 29 points on only 17 shots — he made 11 free throws in 14 attempts. Hughes finished with 15 points but failed to score in the second half. Howard had 11 points and 7 assists while Dolezaj’s efforts gave him 8 points and 4 rebounds.

Syracuse finished the night shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and 45.2 percent (14/31) from deep. The Orange lost for the first time all season when it had made over 10 shots from range.

UNC’s White finished with 34 points on only 14 shots and was 10-10 from the line.

Next Up

Syracuse will travel to Wake Forest on Saturday to take on the Demon Deacons. That game tips at noon ET from Lawrence Joel Coliseum and will air on the ACCN.

For Syracuse basketball stories and updates, follow Nunes and James on twitter @NunesMagician and @JamesSzuba.